Schiit’s little amplifier punches method above its weight

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The Schiit Audio Aegir amp.


Lee Shelly

Image an audiophile amplifier and what do you see? A giant bruiser that hogs an excessive amount of dwelling area and prices a bloody fortune. Schiit Audio broke the mildew with its Aegir amp. It is small, solidly constructed and appears like a bona fide high-end amp. The value is true too.

The Aegir is $799 within the US, £800 within the UK, and AU$1,299 in Australia. It seems to be like a close to twin of the Schiit Vidar ($699, £700, AU$1,199), however whereas Vidar is a 100 watt per channel stereo amp, the more-expensive Aegir is simply 20 watts per channel. What’s up with that?

Whereas the 2 amps seem related, the Aegir is the extra refined design, and to my ear it sounds higher than the Vidar as much as medium loud quantity ranges. Not everyone needs most loud, or can get away with that, so for them placing sound high quality forward of sound amount makes numerous sense.

I am getting forward of myself. Let’s first get into the numbers. The Schiit web site claims, “Aegir makes use of an unique current-feedback topology, in addition to a 100 % linear energy provide (with 7 separate voltage rails and 600VA transformer) and microprocessor oversight to remove capacitors and DC servos within the sign path.” That is tech converse for a fairly superior design not usually seen in such an inexpensive amp. Simpler to grasp numbers embody energy rankings of 20 watts per channel into eight ohms, doubling to 40 watts per channel into Four ohms. For Four or eight ohm audio system, the Aegir’s first 10 watts per channel are pure Class A watts, from 10 to 20 watts Schiit describes the ability as “Class A like” watts. Which means they do not conform to the strict definition of Class A designs. I’ve no technique to confirm any of that, however I’ll say the Aegir is the most effective sounding Schiit product I’ve examined.

The Schiit Audio Aegir amp’s rear panel.


Lee Shelly

In case you want extra oomph, purchase two Aegirs, run every one as a mono amplifier, and get 4 instances the ability: 80 watts into eight ohm audio system.

Aegir is smaller than most high-end amps, a mere 9 by 13 by 3.9 inches (229x330x99mm), however it weighs a hefty 27 kilos (12.2 kg). Even with the Aegir’s finned warmth sinks working the complete lengths of the chassis sides, the amp runs heat to the contact, so do not plan on tucking this amp away inside a closed cupboard.

The amp’s rear panel hosts a set of beefy wanting gold-plated speaker cable binding posts, stereo RCA inputs and a single XLR enter to be used when an Aegir is run as a mono amp (the RCA inputs are solely used for stereo operation). The entrance panel energy button toggles between standby and energy on settings.

The Aegir is not simply assembled within the US. The chassis, circuit boards, transformers, meeting, and many others. are sourced from US suppliers. The Aegir is offered with a 15-day house trial and a 5-year guarantee.

The Aegir is an influence amp and should be matched with a preamp. Schiit’s Jotunheim, Saga or Freya preamps can be high-quality companions to be used with the Aegir. Or it may be used with another model’s stereo preamp.

Is 20 watts per channel sufficient?

That is dependent upon how loud you hear, the dimensions of your room, the sensitivity of your audio system, and the music genres you take pleasure in. Huge rooms take in extra energy than small rooms, and excessive sensitivity audio system want much less energy to play at a given quantity degree than decrease sensitivity audio system.

I break up my Aegir listening classes between two units of audio system, the low sensitivity KEF LS50 and excessive sensitivity Klipsch Forte III audio system. Fueled by the Aegir, the LS50’s sound took on a burnished glow, with the tone richer and sweeter than I am used to. Stereo imaging was very good, that is what the LS50 is understood for, however paired with the Aegir there’s extra depth and physique to the sound of vocalists and devices on acoustic music.

Nonetheless, taking part in Wilco’s A Ghost is Born album loud was a distinct story. Aegir put a lid on the dynamics and bass definition, and switching again over to the extra highly effective Vidar restored the music’s life. At extra average quantity degree the Aegir sounded higher, the combo opened up, and the sound of cymbals and percussion had been superior so decision of delicate particulars had been revealed.

I additionally famous that Vidar thinned out the sound on Ethel’s (a string quartet) self-titled first album, forfeiting the strings harmonic richness I heard from the Aegir. The distinction between the 2 amps wasn’t delicate. That mentioned, the Vidar is by far the extra highly effective amp, and with insensitive audio system just like the LS50s taking part in loud, the benefit in sound high quality shifts over to the Vidar.

With the simpler to drive Klipsch Forte III audio system, the Aegir performed louder with ease, and the sound was a lot livelier with saxophonist Charles Lloyd’s iconic Forest Flower LP. This music strikes gracefully with Keith Jarrett on piano, Cecil McBee on bass, and Jack DeJohnette on drums. Dynamics had been wonderful, so the music had actual visceral energy, and that is a uncommon incidence with amps within the Aegir’s worth class.

The Forte IIIs synergy with Aegir was manifest in the best way it sweetened the audio system sound, including a fuller and rounder tone to the music. The amp’s management over the Forte III’s 12-inch (305mm) woofers was by no means doubtful, however it did not attain as forcefully into the deepest bass octaves as a $4,000 First Watt J2 amp did, and that mannequin delivers simply 25 watts per channel! It could have been outclassed however the Aegir bought awfully shut for a fraction of the worth.

Schiit’s on a roll: a revised model of their Ragnarok built-in amp and the primary Schiit turntable are coming quickly. Watch this area.  

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